MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers remain open to a change of heart by outfield prospect D'Vontrey Richardson, a top 20 prospect who told club officials this spring that he was giving up baseball.
Richardson, a former two-sport star at Florida State and No. 20 on MLB.com's list of the top Brewers prospects entering this season, told the Herald newspaper of Albany, Ga., last week what he told the Brewers in Spring Training, that he was having second thoughts about a pro baseball career.
Richardson played baseball and football at FSU before the Brewers made him a fifth-round Draft pick in 2009 and convinced him to focus on baseball. He played last season at Class A Brevard County, but he missed '12 Spring Training with what the Brewers publicly termed a "personal issue;" that issue was that club officials could not convince him to report.
"Sometimes, you just have to give it up whenever it's not as fun as it used to be," Richardson told the newspaper. "It's a game we've played our whole life, and we should just be able to go out and have fun doing it. Practice was fun, the games were fun, but all the traveling and being away from my family and friends [was difficult].
"Right now, I just want to get my degree, take what I learned from the experience and get my life back on track. I learned a lot from this, and maybe my only regret is that I should've been more patient with football and stayed in school."
He was a quarterback for the Seminoles. Now, Richardson told the Herald, he plans to return to FSU to complete a degree in physical education.
"When I'm done, I'd like to start coaching football," he said. "That's the sport I always preferred anyway."
The Brewers learned of Richardson's doubts when they were trying to book his travel for Spring Training and he resisted. Farm director Reid Nichols played phone tag with the soon-to-be 24-year-old last week and said that while Richardson will not play in 2012, he remains open to a change of heart for '13.
In the newspaper report, Richardson, too, left open the possibility that he may change his mind and re-commit to baseball.
"We've talked, and he still has the desire to play, he just needs to find his way through it," Nichols said. "We've discussed the possibility of him coming back; we do have him under control, he's on our roster. So we just have to give it time, and if everything works right, he shows the desire we feel is appropriate, he's in shape, we'll consider talking to him about coming back next year."
Richardson batted .243 with seven home runs, 51 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 2010, then batted .284 with three homers and 41 RBIs at advanced Class A Brevard County in 2011, limited to 97 games by a hip injury.
"You can't help but like the tools," Nichols said. "But he does need to get his priorities right. The game is hard enough for a player who really wants to play and would sacrifice everything to do that. Then, when you add in the doubts -- 'Is this really what I want to do?' -- any time there's failure, you're going to start wondering whether you should be there or not.
"He has to show the desire to want to be there, and go through the hard times that it takes to become a Major League player. If he can convince us that's where he is, then we'll consider bringing him back."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.